New Trade Alliance Serves To Empower Women In Alcohol Beverage Industry

Women of the Vine (womenofthevine.com) raises the bar to equip individuals, challenges industry
September 24, 2015

September 24, 2015 (New York City) – In collaboration with an advisory board of top beverage industry executives, Deborah Brenner recently launched the Women of the Vine Alliance, a membership-based organization whose mission is to empower and equip women worldwide to advance their careers in the alcohol beverage industry; and to foster gender diversity and talent development across the industry at large. Brenner is best known as the author of Women of the Vine: Inside the World of Women Who Make, Taste, and Enjoy Wine, and as founder of the influential Women of the Vine Global Symposium.

“Women of the Vine is the only organization of its kind to advance and support the careers of women in the alcohol beverage industry while challenging that industry to recognize and further the talents of women in every position in the field,” said Brenner. “There has never been a forum for women in all sectors to come together to foster diversity initiatives and to ensure the next generation is being mentored to take leadership roles.”

Anchored by the annual Women of the Vine Global Symposium – a conference in which members from around the world gather to learn, connect and effect change – the Women of the Vine Alliance brings attention to the issues women face in the alcohol beverage industry by offering education including best-practice strategies, mentorship, leadership and professional development opportunities; networking and camaraderie through convening at the annual event, regional networking events, peer-to-peer collaboration; and tools for forward-thinking employers and employees seeking to change the industry from within, primarily via a new website, womenofthevine.com. Additionally, the new Women of the Vine Alliance site includes a job board for members to post and peruse positions for hire nationwide across the industry, as well as career advice, powered by BevForce.

To become a member, whether as an individual, sole proprietor, or corporation, please visit womenofthevine.com. Those who aren’t ready to commit to membership or who wish to stay in touch with the work of the Women of the Vine Alliance may sign up for the Women of the Vine mailing list by subscribing on the home page.

Women of the Vine is organized under the purview of an advisory board of professionals – women and men, both – committed to fostering gender diversity and talent development across the alcohol beverage industry. Advisory board members include:

  • Annette Alvarez-Peters, Asst. GMM, Beverage Alcohol, AIWS, CWE, Costco Wholesale
  • Jan Barnes, Vice President Group Brand Director, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
  • Nikki Bazzo, Portfolio Manager, American Wine & Spirits
  • Colleen Brennan, VP of National Accounts On-Premise, Rodney Strong
  • Jane Edwards Creed, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wine Shop at Home
  • Barb Egenhofer, Senior Vice President Human Resources, Wine & Spirits Division, Constellation Brands
  • Anita Cook-Motard, Director of Strategic On-Premise Accounts, Glazer’s Domaine & Estates, D&E Fine Wine Group
  • Kristen R. Decker, President, Global Wine Company, Inc
  • Mel Dick, President of the Wine Division and Senior Vice President, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.
  • Rachael Ellas, Northwest Region Vice President, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
  • Danielle Frank, National Accounts Manager On-Premise, Moët Hennessy USA
  • Stephanie Gallo, Vice President of Marketing, E & J Gallo Winery
  • Rebecca Jensen Running, Vice President National Accounts, Infinium Spirits
  • Vanessa Kay, Senior VP, Veuve Clicquot, Krug, Ruinart, Moët Hennessy USA
  • Kristina Kelley, Director of Public Relations, E. & J. Gallo Winery
  • Tammy LaNasa, Director of National Accounts, Fetzer Vineyards
  • Dr. Kathryn LaTour, Associate Professor, Wine Services Marketing, Cornell University
  • Kari Leitch, Senior Vice President, Communications and Corporate Affairs, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
  • Cynthia Lohr, Vice President Marketing, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines
  • Meridith May, Publisher/Editorial Director, The Tasting Panel Magazine, The SOMM Journal, The Clever Root
  • Sommer K. Meyer, National Account Manager, Bacardi USA
  • Jayne Portnoy, Vice President of Marketing & Brand Strategy, Napa Technology
  • Mary Retallack, Viticulturist & Managing Director, Retallack Viticulture
  • Ben Salisbury, Owner, Salisbury Creative Group, Inc.
  • David Schuemann, Owner, Creative Director, CF Napa Brand Design
  • Steve Slater, Executive Vice President, General Manager, Wine Division, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.
  • Dr. Liz Thach, MW, Professor of Management and Wine Business, Sonoma State University
  • Tim Widnes, Wine & Beer Buyer, Whole Foods Market

“I am very excited to join Women of the Vine’s Advisory Board,” said Vanessa Kay, Senior VP, Veuve Cliquot, Krug, Ruinart, Moët Hennessy USA. “It's a dynamic time for women in the wine and spirits industry and we look forward to helping support and promote the next generation of its leaders.”

The seeds of the Women of the Vine Alliance were sown when President, Deborah Brenner, researched and authored the bestselling book, Women of the Vine: Inside the World of Women Who Make, Taste, and Enjoy Wine. As a former executive and 20-year veteran of the television and film industries, Brenner was familiar with the disenchantment of working in a male-dominated industry. As she interviewed women in the wine industry for the book, her commitment to telling their stories galvanized the group as a force whose talents and collective experience could not be ignored.

Brenner harnessed this energy and enthusiasm (which grew far beyond that of the subjects of her book) and organized the inaugural Women of the Vine Global Symposium in Napa in April, 2015, which featured informative sessions on leadership, marketing/branding, and the particular challenges that face women in the wine industry. With over 500 attendees from five countries, the Symposium set the stage for the launch of the Women of the Vine Alliance, as well as the opening of the alliance to women across the alcohol beverage industry, including spirits and beer.

For more information on the Women of the Vine Alliance, Foundation, Global Symposium, April 4-7, 2016, or to sign up for the Women of the Vine mailing list, please visit www.womenofthevine.com or contact Nancy Paquette at nancy.paquette@womenofthevine.com or info@womenofthevine.com.

About Women of the Vine Alliance

Women of the Vine Alliance is a membership-based alliance that empowers and equips women worldwide to advance their careers in the alcohol beverage industry, fostering gender diversity and talent development across the industry at large. Guided by an advisory board of top international executives in the alcohol beverage industry, Women of the Vine offers extensive education, advocacy, training, mentorship, networking and steadfast support for women at every position in the field, particularly through the annual Women of the Vine Global Symposium, April 4-7, 2016 in Napa, California. Women of the Vine: Raising the Bar. For more information, please visit womenofthevine.com or call 845-365-2838.